Strait school board needs funding increases to save staff, programs
PORT HASTINGS — Staff and programs are at stake if school boards don’t see funding increases in line with increases in its costs, says the superintendent of the Strait Regional School Board.
The Strait Regional School board held a press conference in Mulgrave Monday as part of a provincewide campaign by a coalition of boards, teachers, parents and administrators seeking a 3.6 per cent increase in education funding.
Beaton has said that, in order to maintain current programs, the board needs an increase in its funding allocation of about 3.6 per cent. For the past two years, it has fallen well below that.
“ We talked about the impact on things like students with special needs if there’s a reduction in resource support,” Beaton said. “ We talked about subjects that are optional now at the junior high level, for example, subjects like art and music, technology education and family studies that may need to be reduced in order to allow us to maintain core programming.”
Programs that could be affected at the high school level could include Options and Opportunities, which allows students a look at careers in the trades, Beaton said.
Teaching and support staff are areas the board would also obviously consider, Beaton said. About 85 per cent of the board’s budget goes to salaries.
“ The majority of the effect will be on the number of people that we have employed,” he said, adding technology and professional development could also be affected.
The extra funding could come from extending the time period to eliminate the deficit, Beaton said. He added properly educating children is a longterm investment that pays dividends when they become adults.
The board hasn’t come up with specific areas where cuts can be expected, Beaton said, noting it’s difficult to do before it knows how much money it will receive. The board expects to receive that information in early April.